The letter between M and O
Several weeks ago Master Fob wrote a blog entry about how the letter between M and O on his keyboard was stuck. He then proceeded to write an entire blog entry sans N. Which confused me to no end, because the letter between M and O on a QWERTY keyboard is K. (Take a second and look.) And then I realized that he meant “the letter between M and O [in the alphabet] was stuck on his keyboard.”
I point this out not to criticize Master Fob’s writing style (far be it from me), nor to share an amusing piece of syntactic (or semantic) ambiguity, but as a cognitive illustration. While some may think that I spend my free time thinking of clever double meanings and secondary interpretations for things, you would be quite mistaken. This is just how my brain normally works.
It is not uncommon for someone to make a statement, and have my mind go wandering off in what I think is the logical direction, only to discover that everyone else has quietly made a different interpretation, without perceiving any ambiguity at all.
This makes it very hard to follow directions. Someone will say “turn left” and I think “that could mean anything!” so I try to narrow it down to the most likely possibilities or ask for clarification. (To illustrate: “turn left” could mean “at the next light,” “at the next intersection,” or “at the next house.”)
However, this also means that I give very clear directions, because I give directions that even I could follow.
I’m not sure if this is a blessing or a curse. My close friends and family don’t mind, at least, when I ask for clarification about something they’ve said, or give them more precise options, or maybe just take a few extra seconds to decide which interpretation of what they’ve said is more plausible. And I did think that “the letter between M and O” was a rather awkward way of describing “K,” but my life is full of such confusion, so I have learned not to question it.